With eighteen companies having thrown their hats in, it is easier to discuss who has not, yet. Of the groups active in the region, the most notable absentees are the Arab groups: Etisalat, Wataniya, Zain, etc. Ten years ago, we would have expected to see Telstra and at least one American company, but not now. South African telecoms group MTN is in talks with Myanmar’s Directorate of Investment and Companies Administration (DICA) with a view to gaining an operating licence in the south east Asian country, local source Eleven Newsmedia reported. MTN is thought to have joined a list of around 18 companies which have submitted an expression of interest (EoI) in acquiring Myanmar licences, including India’s Bharti Airtel, Singapore’s SingTel, Malaysia’s Axiata, Caribbean group Digicel, Singapore-based telecoms investor ST Telemedia (with interests including StarHub and Malaysia’s U Mobile), KDDI of Japan, Thai operator AIS (via parent Shin Corp/InTouch) and Norway’s Telenor (parent of Thailand’s DTAC).